50 Shades of Grey: The Movie follows 50 Shades of Grey: The Book pretty fucking closely – probably to its own detriment, seeing as the book is about 200 pages of alternating paragraphs of a woman saying, “Oh my!” and then detailing wild bondage sex sessions with a 27-year old handsome billionaire entrepreneur genius with great abs and a massive wang.
I will shamelessly admit that I follow pop culture trends – I read the Harry Potter books, I did the Hunger Games thing, I even smashed through the Twilight series, so it was a logical progression that I picked up 50 Shades to see what all the fuss was about. In its original form, the 50 Shades books were written by a presumably drunk, horny and borderline illiterate Twilight fan, who detailed the bedroom antics of Twilight vampire couple Edward and Bella (spoiler alert: Bella becomes a vampire, so suck on that, Jacob!) and posted it online. She was encouraged by other drunk, horny illiterates to keep writing, and voila – welcome to the Red Room of Pain.
The books follow the patented Twilight-recipe-for-success down to a tee – there’s no character development, there’s a smattering of unnecessary minor characters who appear and disappear within the same sentence, the entire thing takes place within a plot hole, there is next to no storyline, and (this is the big one) relationships are relayed directly to the reader instead of inferred through dialogue and action. If two characters are in love, make no mistake – you’ll be told that they are in love. They will tell each other that they’re in love. And they won’t have a fucking reason as to why. The character of Christian Grey is perhaps the most wooden, one-dimensional, unlikeable leading man in literary and cinematic history. He is narcissistic, sadistic, selfish and fucking boring; there no reason why anyone would be interested in fucking him (well, maybe once, for the story), but to fall in love with him? Get fucked. Impossible.
“We don’t care about the story!” say the housewives who lapped this shit up. “Just give us good sex scenes!” But here’s the kicker, dickheads - you will very rarely enjoy a two-hour movie if you don’t give a fuck about the characters, regardless of whether it’s a billion-dollar blockbuster, a low-budget indie flick or a soft-porn adaptation. And with the restrictions on just how porno the filmmakers could go with this one, you are left with two hours of “insinuated” sex, which consists of a lot of close ups of thighs, lips and the occasional curve of a bum. For the record, I tallied five pube sightings and a bit of shaft. It was a good day out for me.
The movie is actually a fairly decent recreation of the source material, so hats off to whoever it was that wrote and directed it (details are my life), but the problems with the stilted dialogue and clumsy plot are exacerbated a trillion times over when it’s on the screen. Christian’s emotional depth is shown through him playing classical music on his piano when he can’t sleep. He manages to avoid his workplace for the entire movie to stalk a college student yet still single-handedly run his billion-dollar enterprise. His musings on starving children in Africa are juxtaposed by him showing off his collection of luxury cars, private jets and helicopters. His mother visiting his house for twenty seconds, from opening the front door to walking out. None of it works, and there are no easy escapes to be made – at least the author of the books could just throw in a random paragraph about them fucking on a trapeze, but there’s no such liberties for the filmmakers, and it turns it into a clumsy, awkward mess.
|I think you're doing chocolate wrong... or something|
It’s all fucking ridiculous, is what it boils down to. It succeeds neither with the nudie bits or the other bits, and it doesn’t matter what you’ve read, heard or seen about it, you already know if you’re going to watch it.
I give 50 Shades of Grey a score of five pubes and a bizarrely featured peacock feather.